Southwest South Dakota has A LOT of things to do! After spending half the day at Mt. Rushmore, we headed toward Custer State Park. The only way to go is directly through the Black Hills, the mountain range that Mt. Rushmore is carved into.
Sometimes things don't go as planned. That is bad enough when you are close to home, with all the conveniences that you are accustomed to. But when you are in the middle of the Badlands it is a whole different ball game! I mean look at that landscape, nothing but... landscape! :) After our lunch and checking out the Ben Reifel visitor center, we were ready to hit the road again. We had only seen about a fourth of the park and we were ready to see the rest. Unfortunately, our car had other plans! To make a long story short, we somehow managed to set off the theft deterrent system in our car. It thought we were trying to steal it, so it wouldn't start. I always try to look on the bright side of things and believe it or not, this story has a few bright sides. First of all, we were parked at the visitor center. This is the only place on the entire Badlands loop with food, AC and nice restrooms. Since we ended up spending the next four hours there, that was a GREAT thing! This is also where the Park Rangers are housed. They were so helpful to us, offering to jump-start the car, letting us use the phone, showing us current projects they were working on. Really nice folks! Another GIANT bright side to this story is ONSTAR. We have the directions and connections plan and it was a life saver! After trying several different things that the Onstar advisor recommended (she was so patient), she ended up getting us a tow-truck. She made all the arrangements with the closest Chevrolet dealership and had the tow-truck driver text me when he would arrive. Honestly, without Onstar I know the day would not have gone as good as it did. Thanks, Onstar!
As the sign reads, this is The Big Badlands! After driving across South Dakota the day before, we finally arrived at one of our big stops, Badlands National Park. It was like nothing we had ever seen, or at least my husband and kids had ever seen, I came here as a child. :) It is hard to describe a landscape that doesn't really compare to anything else. It kind of reminds me of the Grand Canyon, except that it is so spread out. It also makes me think of the Napali Coast in Hawaii. But while it has the same shapes as the Napali Coast, Hawaii is lush and tropical, which the Badlands clearly are not! I think the Badlands are best described in pictures. Then you can decide what they might compare to.
Recently I was blessed with tickets to Harpo Studios in Chicago, IL to see a taping of Oprah's Lifeclass with Iyanla Vanzant. What an exciting experience! Definitely something that not a lot of people get to do. Honestly, I could attend every taping and never get tired of it. I am a huge fan of Lifeclass, as well as many of the new shows on the Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN. My favorite shows are ones that teach me something or help me grow as a person. Super Soul Sunday is the best, along with Lifeclass, Our America (with Lisa Ling) and Oprah's Next Chapter. Anyway, it was a blast and I wanted to share my experience with you. Here are my pictures and even a few videos from that day.
|Before the show started...super excited they let us bring in our phones! Started taking pictures immediately!|